Even in the affluent Connecticut suburbs, paying for college has become the biggest financial college that most parents face. When I am get-togethers with my Old Saybrook neighbors, college tuition seems to be an omnipresent topic. This wasn’t always the case. A couple decades ago, most parents from the upper middle class suburbs of Shoreline and Southeastern Connecticut could save a 4-5 thousand dollars a year for a decade, skip remodeling the house and big vacations during the college years, and pay for state college in full and perhaps 2-3 years of even the priciest of colleges. That has changed.
Saving $100,000 for college is a big challenge. But pricey private colleges cost as much as 70,000/year (60,000 for many). Unless you are ok with your child being saddled with over $100,000 in loans, college – still far and away the best option for most 18 year olds – has become prohibitively expensive for my Connecticut clientele.
One of the challenges of being from Connecticut: we make too much money. Strange as that sounds, the median national household income is $51,000. Most households in Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme etc. make a lot more. Bye bye financial aid.
But… merit aid has become the best kept secret for paying for college. Most of our SAT clients have used their SAT (or ACT) scores to earn merit scholarships. The awards have ranged from $5000/year to full tuition at pricey private colleges.
SAT prep turns out to be the best college investment for many.